Last year it was revealed that the site at 644 E. 14th St. — across the street from the Con Edison power plant — contains some contamination and city agencies are inviting public comment on the proposed remedy.
Per a fact sheet (PDF):
The public is invited to comment on a proposed remedy being reviewed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), in consultation with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), to address contamination related to the 644 East 14th Street Site ...Based on the findings of the investigation, NYSDEC, in consultation with the NYSDOH, has determined that the site does not pose a significant threat to public health or the environment. The decision is based on the soil, groundwater and soil vapor analytical data collected at the site as presented in the Remedial Investigative Report (RIR).
The corner property has been in a stalled-development mode for years. This corner property last housed the single-level R&S Strauss auto parts store, which closed in April 2009.
There are already approved plans for a 15-floor mixed-use building, though no affordable units are attached to this version. As revealed in the spring of 2021, several developers spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby the city for NYCHA air rights to make this a larger structure with more housing.
This past spring, the NYCHA and Madison Realty Capital filed documents seeking a non-ULURP modification — known as an LSRD — to the development plan. (Madison Realty Capital paid Opal Holdings $31.3 million for the property in May 2020, and Opal Holdings bought the parcel in June 2016 for $23 million.)
Here are some of the maneuverings necessary to expand the footprint of the building, as first reported by PincusCo:
The application seeks to modify the boundaries of the previously approved plans and zoning calculations by expanding the zoning lot to include 644 East 14th Street (Block 396, Lot 29). Through the zoning lot merger, the development rights from the existing LSRD comprised of Campos Plaza I and II, which are owned by a joint venture that includes NYCHA ... can be transferred to Block 396, Lot 29, a vacant property owned by Madison Realty Capital.
Last June, Community Board 3 signed off on the plan, which will generate $19.5 million for the NYCHA, to be exclusively used at the adjacent Campos Plaza II for capital repairs and other programmatic needs as determined by a community planning process involving NYCHA and the residents of Campos Plaza II.
Our last post on the development has more background, including renderings and some opposition to the building. Per one resident: "While we are all for the development of that corner ... and the affordable housing element of the plans, we are not happy with the sheer size of the footprint and the excessive height that goes along with the proposal."
Aside from the pending site-contamination work, the DOB application for the new building was assigned to a plan examiner on Feb. 1, per public records.